Councilman Robert Holden called on the NYPD higher ups to investigate the 104th Precinct’s slow response to a report about a “suspicious man” at Glendale school on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Though there was no harm to the student body at Sacred Heart Catholic Academy when a man who “seemed a little off” wandered on campus, Holden blasted the precinct for taking several hours to respond to the school after they called to report the incident and ask for a police presence at dismissal.
The faculty subsequently placed two calls to 911 to report the incident and request a police presence at dismissal, but no officers arrived until after 4 p.m. According to the 104th Precinct, a car accident with injuries took priority over the situation at the school.
“Regardless of whether or not the man knocking on the door was actually a danger to the school, the staff felt concerned enough to call 911, and that should have warranted an immediate response,” Holden wrote in a statement. “I have since been in contact with NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North and the Commissioner’s office, and I will make sure that everyone who dropped the ball in this case is held accountable.”
Holden wrote that the precinct did not let him know until the next day that the car accident with injuries had stalled the response to the school’s calls.
According to accounts by Principal Joanne Gangi and Holden’s staff, a man knocked on the front door carrying an extension pole for a paint roller and a satchel of tools at 12:30 p.m. asking for directions to Forest Hills. He eventually left the premises looking confused, but the encounter alarmed several members of the staff.
A faculty member called the precinct to make a report. Then, two hours later, with no police response, a second 911 call was made to request a police presence at dismissal. Police still did not arrive until after 4 p.m.
Holden also expressed frustration over the local precinct’s lack of communication with his office. He called the commanding officer shortly after the incident took place, but never received a call back.
“I am extremely frustrated with the lack of response and urgency from the 104th Precinct,” Holden added. “In this day and age with many school threats occurring, this was a test of whether or not the precinct was prepared, and it failed miserably.”
After not hearing from the precinct, the school took the precaution of enlisting several parents to facilitate dismissal. The faculty followed crisis management protocol to address the situation.
QNS reached out to the 104th Precinct for comment and is awaiting a response.